07 September 2021

From Author Heynen

Hopefully, you've seen the awesome August 2021 issue of Electric Spec! We're excited to feature "Waking the Bear" by I.S. Heynen. Here's what the author has to tell us about the story:

This story is a retelling of the old Norwegian fairytale “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” which my dad read to me several times as a bedtime story in early childhood—early enough that I only half-remembered it as an adult (“what was that story again? The one with the bear and the girl?”). I rediscovered it in 2020 after some Wikipedia sleuthing. I was going through a phase of obsession with myth/fairytale retellings at the time, and decided to develop a modern take on this cozy, folkloric Scandinavian odyssey.

My project started out nice, but grew more and more pagan and American Gods-ish the more I wrote. Before I knew it, I was researching old Saami animist beliefs and shamanism, and had somehow rewritten my favorite childhood fairytale to center around a sketchy human sacrifice.

This was also one of the first times I’d run a story through the Critters critique workshop’s gauntlet, a very humbling experience that connected me with about 20 different reader/reviewers who didn’t pull punches. Rewriting my already-bizarre story afterwards turned out to be one of the trickiest writing exercises I’ve tried this year.

A huge thank-you to Electric Spec for selecting my work! It’s an honor to be featured here.

Thank you, I.S.!
Check out "Waking the Bear" and the rest of the great stories!

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